The predominant part of our reception of information – more than 80 percent according to scientific studies – is performed by the visual sense. In order to make this information visible to the human eye, however, we need light. Light is thus the most important vehicle for information transfer.
The evolution of our visual organ was determined by natural light, the light of the sun. The mechanisms and functionality of our visual perception are shaped by and emerged due to the characteristics of daylight. At the same time, our brain activities also originated.
“Perception is a formative process, that does not end in the eye but reaches its outright completion in the brain.”
Dr. phil. Walter Witting, Perception Psychologist
In the course of evolution, our daily rhythm consequently also adapted to the conditions of daylight. The regular alternation between brightness and darkness determines the time frames used for activity and recreation.
Light is constantly perceived, even in the dark or during sleep. This fact combined with the enormous cognitive capacity required by the visual sense are primary reasons for the predominantly subconscious nature of visual perception. On the level of consciousness, human beings show utterly low sensors for the visual sense. In contrast to smells, temperature or sounds, the human being is hardly able to evaluate the quality of light let alone differentiate between good and bad lighting.
The consequences may not be apparent at present but will show in the long run, and they can be severe. Deficient lighting both at the working place and at home can cause mental stress and tiredness, which can subsequently lead to discomfort and illness. Scientific studies investigating light and health have shown that bad lighting can do harm to the biological clock, the so-called circadian rhythm, and can even change the hormone balance and cause illness.
Good lighting does the exact opposite: it strengthens our organism and makes us more resilient and productive.
Good lighting creates well-being!
As we have mostly stayed indoors ever since the invention of the light bulb, it is of much greater importance in today’s times to cater for the best quality in both natural and artificial lighting.
Daylight openings need to consider the following aspects in order to live up to optimal natural lighting conditions:
- Amount of daylight
- Distribution of daylight
- Sun shield
- Glare shield
- Outdoor connection
High-value artificial lighting must fulfil the following criteria:
- Level of lighting
- Distribution of brightness
- Limit of glare
- Direction of light and amount of shade
- Light colour and colour rendition
- Conditioning and indoor climate
The complexity particularly lies in the fact that the lighting system must meet the afore-listed criteria in an interconnected and simultaneous manner rather than in isolation.
Due to the mentioned reasons, lighting solutions nowadays have to do much more than just support the completion of a visual task.
Considering the close connection between light and health, innovative light also needs to positively affect concentration, performance rates and well-being.
In line with the outcomes of recent research, accurate spectral composition of light, the intensity and the duration of exposure, dependent on the time of day and differentiated by the use of room and the visual task, are factors that guarantee optimal effects of light on health.
A premium as well as contemporary lighting design needs to take these qualitative aspects deriving from perceptual psychology and optical physics into account. In this regard, the implementation of an economic as well as environment-friendly lighting technology for an optimization of the energy balance is self-evident.
Mag. (MCI) Ing. Markus Peskoller
CEO of LICHT-INNOVATIV GmbH